Whenever I train down the gym one of the most common things I hear guys talking about is how to increase their bench press. Yet so many people ignore or skip this exercise. The most popular excuse I hear is “my shoulders hurt when I bench press”. Bad form can often be a cause of shoulder injuries especially when bench pressing, however there is a prevent this. I had the this issue some time ago and thought my heavy bench pressing days had come to an end. That was until met with a powerlifting coach who gave some gave me some great tips.
When you bench press, try to keep your elbows in so they are close to your body, by doing this you will slightly change the path that the bar moves. The bar should be lower on your chest, just below your nipples. This will decrease the pressure on your deltoids.
The further you are from your center the less leverage you have. If you stop your elbows from flaring out and keep them tucked in you will put more pressure on your triceps and lower the stress on your shoulders.
Keeping your elbows in close also allows the bar to move in a straight line, and we all know that quickest way from point A to point B is in a straight line. Give this technique a try, you may find it a little hard at first but give it a few weeks and you will be skyrocketing past your personal best in record time.
Notice in the image above the lifter has his elbows tucked in clode to sides. This forces the bar to touch lower on his chest. You will also see that his forearms are perpendicular to the bar and perfectly straight allowing him maximum leverage.
This image is an example of flared elbows. This does not mean that the movement is wrong, it just means that the shoulders will take on more of the pressure. If you were to bench press like this the bar would touch higher on your chest just above your nipples. I would recommend the elbows tucked technique to lower the strain on your deltoids.
Remember that when you start using this technique you may find it a bit more difficult, if so just lower the weight and work your self back up. But remember although you are taking one step back in weight you will be able to push 3 steps forward.
If you’ve tried this technique please let us know your thoughts in the comments below or click here to improve your bench press!
Keep training hard!
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